The Thembanani Cluster Orphaned and Vulnerable Child Care Project

This report covers two updates; the Thembanani OVC project land allocation ceremony and the building project planning meeting between Thembanani OVC women and Project Build (the constructors):

The Thembanani Cluster OVC project land allocation ceremony

On 22 May 2015, the long awaited land allocation ceremony for the Thembanani Cluster Orphaned and Vulnerable Child Care (OVC) Project finally took place. There were over 35 community members from Swayimane present on the site including the Chief and other community leaders. Also in attendance were staff members from Project Build (the construction company) and Zimele. This event took place after many traditional procedures and negotiations between the local Tribal Authorities and the women of Thembanani OVC, with matters complicated as the piece of land the women had requested was initially allocated for community animal grazing. This delayed matters: it took over five months for the process to be finalised.

Despite the lengthy process that the women of Thembanani OVC had to undergo, it was amazing to hear the Chief of Swayimane express pleasure in their outstanding community activities. He said that he could not wait any longer to approve the land. He felt that the Thembanani women needed to start working on the land. It is evident that the Chief is very interested in the work of the Thembanani Cluster and he wants to assist them by granting the land that they requested. It is also clear that he knows and sees the good work the women do and the positive impact it has in the community. Like the Chief, the Swayimane community is very positive about the Thembanani OVC project and appreciates the need that it is addressing in the community. The elderly members of the community feel strongly that the Thembanani OVC project is benefiting their vulnerable youth.
Chief and Mam ZumaOVC Land 2

L-R: The Chief with a Thembanani OVC woman, Mrs Ndlovu, popularly known as MaZuma & The Thembanani OVC land.

Project BuildCommunity on Site
L-R: The Chief (middle) with Project Build Staff and Mam Zuma looking at the building plans & the community on site.

Having given the land to the Thembanani OVC, the Chief gave Project Build (the construction organisation working in partnership with Zimele to build the Thembanani OVC centre) the go-ahead to start building. Project Build used Google Map to measure to scale the given land. While on the building site, Project Build said that they are looking forward to the functioning of the community centre. The Thembanani OVC women were humble and very excited at the successful completion of their negotiations. Final words from the Chief were, “Individuals are given a chance to uplift and empower their community.”

Following the land allocation, a traditional party was held at the home of one of the Thembanani OVC women. It is tradition to hold an ‘after land allocation’ party or thanks-giving meal for the Chief and his entourage. This is to show appreciation and gratefulness at what has been achieved and to honour the Chief on his decision of approving land. The Thembanani OVC women prepared all the gifts for the Chief using their own resources. They bought meat to the value of R1000.00, two crates of beer, a dozen loaves of bread, two crates of soft drinks, and also a bottle each of vodka and brandy.

The party was the venue for ongoing discussions between the Chief and his community members. There was a traditional divide between genders, with the Chief and male community leaders sitting in one room while the women sat in another room but both groups were busy reflecting on the events of the day, the Thembanani OVC land and project. Food was shared with all present and blessings were given to the Thembanani OVC project.
Gifts for the chiefBeerCommunity women together

L-R: Gifts for the Chief, The Chief and male traditional leaders enjoying traditional beer & the community women together.

The Thembanani Cluster OVC and Project Build’s planning meeting

On 29th May 2015, the Thembanani Cluster OVC women and Project Build staff met to discuss the OVC centre building process. Also in attendance were Zimele staff members. Project Build introduced the builder, who happened to be the same contractor who built the Imbokodo Computer School, another of the Swayimane Cluster’s successful joint projects. The builder mentioned that he would bring three people to assist him and that the Thembanani OVC women were to select three other well-skilled community members to assist with brick-laying. The idea of the builder bringing his own labour was questioned by the women as they felt that they have their own children who could be hired for the job instead of bringing in outsiders. Project Build responded that that their work policy was that the builder brings in half the manpower required for the job and the other half is provided by the community. This they say helps with the transferring of building skills to the community and the sharing of work opportunities.

Project Build mentioned in the meeting that a farmer from Wartburg, a nearby town, had donated his tractor to go on the 4th of June to level the ground. All that Project Build needed to contribute towards this job was the cost of diesel. Again the women of Thembanani OVC raised the issue of involving outsiders. Project Build responded by pointing out that the building project would be delayed and that the farmer would then have to donate the tractor plus diesel. Project Build raised the issue of the communication barrier between themselves and the women. It was agreed that Zimele personnel would be present to help at all times during the meetings for the project implementation. Below were the planned site meeting dates for the project implementation:

Site Meeting Dates

1. 03 June 2015 –  Farmer from Wartburg to be introduced and to level ground.

Two mobile rooms will be brought for builder to stay in.

Generator will be provided.

Two water tanks: the women will have to arrange how to fill them.

2. 11 June 2015 – Laying foundations

3. 22 June 2015 – Cementing the foundations

4. 29 June 2015 – Building the walls

5. 21 July 2015 – Roofing and plastering inside and outside.

6. 04 August 2015 – Start painting (women to inspect the building and approve that the building is ready for painting).

7. 13 August 2015 – Finish painting.

8. 14 August 2015 – Checking if the building is complete.

Project Build to come back to Zimele and the Thembanani women with handover date.

The other matters discussed were:

• Fencing – Project Build said that they would not provide fencing for the building; what they could help with is erecting a simple, less durable, safety fence (orange nets).

• Electricity – It was agreed that Project Build would provide a generator to be used during the project implementation and Thembanani OVC would have to apply for electricity immediately, so that by the time the building is complete, it would have electricity. Otherwise, Project Build would put electric wires in the building and women at a later stage will have to employ someone else to connect the electricity for them.

• Security – Seeing that the budget did not cover security costs, it was agreed that the Thembanani OVC women would have find a person to volunteer or employ as a security guard.

• Bricks – Having noted that there was no brick maker in the community of Swayimane, it was agreed that Project Build would buy bricks from their suppliers.

• Colours – It was agreed that the women would choose the colour of paint to be used for the inside and outside of the building. They would also choose the colour of the tiles, ceramic tiles bathrooms only and vernal tiles in the other rooms.

• Project Build mentioned that a septic tank will be built.

• At the close of the meeting Project Build mentioned that they had assigned someone from Health and Safety to check on the running of the project. The Thembanani OVC handed in their Cluster’s certificate of registration, OVC members’ names, cell numbers and maintenance letter to Project Build. The Thembanani OVC women suggested that one member be assigned with the task of monitoring the site regularly and checking if the material is being used accordingly.

The project commenced on Wednesday the 3rd of June 2015!


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